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Thread: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    Hi everyone,

    I came off sertraline after 3 years back in May of this year and since July I've been having horrendous swallowing anxiety.

    When I started sertraline years ago it made me feel like sometimes my swallow wasn't working correctly, which I know can be anxiety related too. It was very prominent at first but I didn't worry about it as I had experienced the same thing on Citalopram years before. It would still happen the odd time but it was just something I was used to and I was sure it would stop when I came off.

    Well I did stop taking it (and much too quick following my useless GPs advice) and it continued to happen. It feels like my swallow jams and a few times I've had to end up coughing the food out Sometimes it happens when just trying to swallow saliva but that only happens when I'm really worked up (like when I was in the car on the way to see a new therapist over this last week). I'm not sure if it's dry mouth or just tension or whatever, it almost feels as if my whole chest locks up when it's happening and it's really scary. It gets worse towards the end of meals usually too, like when I'm starting to feel full up.

    I think what has most likely happened is that the stress I was under between May and July made it happen more often and for a month now I've been dwelling on it so much, to the point where I've lost a lot of weight and am fixated on it constantly. It is ruining my life and I feel so stressed out and as if I'm losing my mind It is all I think about (I do have OCD and a long history of health anxiety). I have thought about every swallow I have taken for the past month and it's so exhausting. Every meal or piece of food I eat is making me anxious.

    If there was something wrong with my swallow would it happen with every single bite of food? And with water? (water is going down fine) Or would it come and go like this? I can't seem to find a straight answer and my mind obviously jumps to scary neuro diseases the more I read in to it

    I'm on day 6 of sertraline again and i'm so anxious in the mornings especially, as the day goes on I have found myself relaxing a bit more, but I feel like I'm never going to enjoy food every again and it's so depressing. It's also causing a lot of DP/DR feelings too and I feel it taking it's toll on my general health, making my heart race every morning.

    Has anyone that's been obsessed with swallowing got over it and how? My doctors constantly fail me, won't even see me to even look at my throat and their only solution is to put me back on SSRI's which have caused this in the first place, but I couldn't have went on any longer the way I have been for the past month over this. Has sertraline worked for fear of food for anyone else????

    Please help I am feeling so desperate and lost

  2. #2
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/...y-food-and-die

    Does this help at all? Also sensorimotor OCD? I can get very obsessed with the mechanics of breathing

  3. #3
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by pulisa View Post
    https://www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/...y-food-and-die

    Does this help at all? Also sensorimotor OCD? I can get very obsessed with the mechanics of breathing
    Hi Pulisa thanks for replying. I have actually came across that article in recent weeks in my desperate attempt to reassure myself!

    Yes it is definitely sensorimotor OCD but Iím finding it so difficult to treat it. The fact is I am actually struggling to swallow, itís not that Iím imagining that Iím struggling, it is actually happening and that makes it so scary for me :( itís almost as if I forget how to swallow for a split second and I jump out of my skin when food is going down my throat sometimes itís driving me mad!

    The first time it happened I wasnít scared of choking or anything, so it wasnít as if I was consciously thinking about/worrying about swallowing issues. As it had happened before on citalopram I just shrugged it off and put it down to a sertraline/anxiety side effect.

    I just wish a doctor could reassure me and tell me that if it was something serious it would happen with every bite or something. I just keep getting fobbed off and told itís anxiety (which I know is) without a doctor even bothering to see me or listen to me in detail. It feels as if Iíve lost the ability to swallow solids automatically :(

  4. #4
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    You will actually struggle to swallow when actively thinking about it so it's no surprise that the functional dysphagia is taking over your every waking moment.

    As your GP isn't wanting to get involved do you think having a private endoscopy would be worth the money if you committed to believing the result? No use though if you're going to dispute a normal finding. Failing that physiotherapy could help you relax your throat muscles?

  5. #5
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    Hi again Pulisa,

    The thing is, I'm not sure if an endoscopy would rule our neurological issues but maybe I am wrong. But definitely if I was given a clear result from some form of test and everything was ruled out it would settle me for sure. The thought of even being tested is so anxiety induced too. I just wish it would go away i feel like I'm going to be stuck thinking about it for the rest of my life and now eating feels so unnatural and unenjoyable!

  6. #6
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    So what medical condition do you think you have? What would "everything" being ruled out mean to you? MND? Oesophageal cancer?
    What neurological conditions have you researched/

  7. #7
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    I'm pretty far in to the MND rabbit hole at the moment over it all. I know better than to google "ALS symptoms" for fear of finding "swallowing difficulties" there. It wasn't until I searched for swallowing issues on *this* forum to see if anyone had this as an anxiety symptom and then they say they're worried about ALS. Funnily enough, I have no concerns about it being a tumour/cancer related.

    In saying that, I've had a re-read through the "Als and why you don't have it" sticky this morning and it has helped a bit, especially the section re: swallowing/food getting stuck and how that's not a typical initial symptom. It's just a bit annoying when others respond with "oh but I read this article about someone where it was gradual" bla bla. But I have improved a bit today, thankfully. I have been through this MND worry before, 3 and a half years ago, with 'perceived' weakness (my anxiety has caused me a lot of neuro symptoms over the last 10/11 years which started during an abusive relationship). It's so annoying because I know I'm being irrational, and i am quite a logical person in other aspects of my life!

    I can't wait to look back on these posts in the future and realise how ridiculous I was being I appreciate you taking the time to reply to me - it really helps to vent to someone that understands anxiety. My mum has been a great support but she has a lot going on right now herself and I feel so guilty for causing her additional stress!

  8. #8
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    I've been sent to a hospital specialising in neurological issues for tests so I do understand what tricks the mind can play on you.

    Once you've done your "research" on MND you can't unread it or delete it from your mind, more's the pity. How do you fill your days? Do you have much to distract you from your MND mindset?

    Maybe your Mum is a great support because she's had some sort of brush with OCD/anxiety herself at some time?

    Have you considered a private appointment with a neurologist as a one off? Would the expense be worth it for a professional assessment from a specialist rather than from random online sources?

  9. #9
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    That must have been scary! Yes thatís the unfortunate thing. I know Iíve got through this before and actually at one stage found it comical how I could jump to that conclusion from my symptoms at the time. Just having trouble seeing the light on this one.

    I work full time but Iím working from home so Iím constantly on my laptop - itís to easy to jump on here and look at other posts for reassurance, and thatís when I encounter all of the horrible things I donít want to read!

    Yes sheís had her own anxieties before (even one about swallowing years ago when we were children, she has told me). It just makes it all so much worse knowing that my anxiety is upsetting her.

    Iím not sure how Iíd handle the anxiety and stress of seeing a neurologist, and at the same time I donít want to give power to this worry. I think if I knew for certain that swallowing issues Wouldnt come and go with MND I could settle a bit more but Iím scared to actually search those terms on the likes of Google :(

  10. #10
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    Re: Back on sertraline - but will it help? Swallowing issues etc.

    A neurologist could give you that reassurance based on years of experience. A soulless search engine couldn't.

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